With the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon set to begin Thursday, athletes from the South Okanagan are ready to take on a new experience.
Penticton’s Ceridwyn Olafsson is excited and scared as she goes up against the best archers in the province.
“I haven’t been shooting as long as some of the competitors,” said Olafsson, who is also thrilled that her cousin is competing.
Olafsson couldn’t contain her emotions as she screamed and jumped when she found out she was going to the games. The 14-year-old is looking forward to the entire experience.
“I really want to make some friends that have the same interests,” she said.
As for expectations, Olafsson feels ready but as long as she has fun, that is all she cares about.
Ed Ford, who is involved with archery in Penticton, said she has the potential to be an excellent archer.
“She has the drive,” he said. “She will come out on top.”
Ford said archery is a discipline that forces people to perform to the best of their ability. Ford said archery is a fabulous sport for kids to go through. Those who stick with it excel. Olafsson will be competing at a first level using international rules.
In karate, Sarah Bradley and Lindsey Selles bring experience to the mat. However, coach Chris Taneda said the Winter Games are tricky because there is no belt division, just age.
“They haven’t had lots of competition, just training up to now,” he said. “The girls have changed so much in anticipation of this.”
Taneda admitted he’s not sure what to expect. What he will enjoy seeing is how the two respond from being in an atmosphere without parents in a protected environment.
“It’s a life experience,” he said. “It’s a mini Olympics.”
Taneda said that the zone has a chance to win medals.
“I’m expecting good things from this group,” he said.
Also going is Kaleden’s Gavin Barrett, who Taneda said trains in Kelowna.
On the ice, the Thompson-Okanagan team will have Penticton flavour with Alyssa MacMillan up front and Rachel Fontinha and Stephanie Hogg between the pipes. Doug MacMillan, who coaches the trio on the bantam tier 2 Smile Enhancement Studio Vees, feels the Thompson-Okanagan team has three strong players. MacMillan said without Fontinha and Hogg the team wouldn’t have advanced to the second round of the playoffs. With his daughter, MacMillan said she’s a strong skater who thinks the game well.
“It’s a great experience that opens the door to be seen by other schools,” he said.
What MacMillan is curious about is how his three will perform against other girls, especially the teams from the Lower Mainland. The girls have played against boys all season.